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Amazon promises to eliminate racial gaps in delivery areas

A report shows predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods are underserved by same-day delivery service.

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Just two weeks after a Bloomberg report revealed glaring racial gaps in Amazon's same-day Prime delivery areas, the online retail giant has promised to eliminate those dead zones by expanding the service "to every zip code of the 27 cities where Prime Same Day delivery is currently launched," Amazon said in a statement today.

The controversy started when Bloomberg's analysis showed same-day deliveries were unavailable in predominantly black or Hispanic zip codes in at least six major cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York City and Washington, D.C.

The dead zones were brought to the attention of the National Black Caucus, which immediately began monitoring the situation and initiated an FTC investigation, while simultaneously calling on Amazon to take swift action. That outcry worked, apparently. As of today, Amazon has expanded to Roxbury, a largely African American neighborhood in Boston where the service was previously unavailable despite being surrounded by same-day delivery areas.

In a statement to USA Today earlier this week, Amazon claimed race was not a deciding factor in determining which neighborhood got the service, but pointed to a number of other factors including, "distance to the nearest fulfillment center, local demand in an area, numbers of Prime members in an area, as well as the ability of our various carrier partners to deliver up to 9 p.m. every single day, even Sunday."

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